SPICEGASM.COM My travel tales and food hunting

December 24, 2011

Mum Aroi Thai restaurant near 3rd Road, Pattaya

Filed under: Bars & Resto,Food,Thailand,Travel — Alex @ 2:07 am

Had the pleasure of being invited by a friend who is from France that is based in Thailand for many years to go eat in a fancy Thai restaurant. The name of the restaurant is Mum Aroi and is situated near to 3rd Road in Pattaya. Even though I am a big fan of street food but sometimes dining in a chic restaurant is very much welcome too.

I invited another American friend to come along. He came to my La Cerise, the guest house which I am staying and we asked for direction on how to go to Mum Aroi restaurant. The front desk staff then told us that transportation is provided for free to the guests of La Cerise. I thought the gesture was super cool and on top of that, the transportation was a bad ass looking tuk tuk!

It was just a 7-10 minutes ride and upon reaching the restaurant my host is already waiting together with an ex staff of his who is a Thai. His Thai ex staff brought along her mom as well. I really love it when there’s a party of 5 or more  when it comes to dining in restaurants like these. On top of that, there are locals in the group and this means we will definitely get to sample more varieties of dishes.

The restaurant looks really classy and has the Zen like feel to it. Spicy and delicious food served in a calm atmosphere is good for a change compared to the loud and noisy atmosphere of street food.

The parking lot of the restaurant is pretty huge. Easy to find a parking slot.

The ambiance of the restaurant is really cool. Dim lighted with some lights on trees and sound of the pool with a mini water fall.

Dining at Mum Aroi restaurant feels like eating in a really nice garden. Felt very relax and made me feel at ease and ready to swine and dine.

The restaurant has a pool which added a touch of class to this chic Thai restaurant. With the sound of flowing water it made me kinda thirsty and it just confirmed my beverage of choice for the night – BEER!

First dish was a spicy seafood salad. The shiny round balls are not pearls but some kind of fish egg. I have to admit this is my first time seeing fish egg this big. It has no distinctive but I guess is added to the salad for texture. I don’t know how to describe the texture exactly but is definitely not chewy  like those taro balls that you find in the pearl tea. I will leave it to Andrew Zimmern to make those descriptions. If he can describes how is it like eating dried camel testicles, this fish egg would be a piece of cake for him.

Baked mussels with Thai herbs. Really good appetizer when dip with the Thai seafood sauce. Sourish and spicy makes you want to eat more.

Khao Moo Yang, barbeque pork’s neck. Very famous Thai dish from Isaan. I can remember this dish’s name in Thai as I simply have to remember the words “young cow that moo”. I used to get confused during my first trip to Thailand between pork and beef. Pork is known as “Moo” and I always get mixed it up with beef as cow moos. Beef in Thai is known as “Neua”.

Dried chili stir fried with chicken and cashew nuts. Most likely a Chinese influenced dish but ordered for the courtesy of the American friend.

Can’t remember the name of this Thai soup dish. Made of coconut with spices, lemongrass and sea food. Didn’t want to order Tom Yum as we been ordering the King of Soup since the first day I was introduced to Thai food. Just wanted to try something new for a change. I have to admit that I still prefers Tom Yum but is good to experience new dishes once in a while.

BBQ river prawns! Just fresh big head river prawns grilled on charcoal. It has a special spicy dip to go with it to make eating these prawns more heavenly. Super fresh and the flesh of the prawns bounced right back to your gums. I love the head also which is full of yucky looking gooey goodness. The elderly Thai lady that was with our group would only eat the heads. This comes as a perfect trade between my American friend and her.

Nam Prik with crab eggs. I ordered this as I’ve never tasted Nam Prik with crab eggs. I was disappointed though as it is just regular Nam Prik with some crab eggs in it. It cost 120 Baht which I think is pretty pricey. All the other dishes were pretty standard and I think the bill came up to 2000 plus ( with 5 bottles of large Heinekken beer ). I did not know the exact price as my host fights to pay the bill.

Overall, the dining experience was pretty good because of the ambiance and atmosphere of Mum Aroi Thai restaurant. As for the food, I think is pretty good but definitely there are places that are better and less fancier. Everybody has their preferences and I am sure some people would regard Mum Aroi as their number one Thai restaurant. I would definitely go dine there again once in a while if given the choice.

December 21, 2011

Many types of Nam Prik in the new Central Mall, Ratchada

Filed under: Food,Thailand,Travel — Alex @ 3:41 pm

Central Mall Ratchada opened to the public on the 14th of December. I went to check it out on the next day. First stop was the food court and the first thing that caught my eyes is one stalls that offers Nam Prik set meals. Nam Prik is similar to the Singapore or Malaysia version of sambal belacan. My mouth literally watered when I see Nam Prik and I decided to get this set meal for lunch.

The set meal comes with plain white rice, a piece of fried fish, three kinds of vegetables of your choice (fried, boiled or raw  ) and egg omelet. Fried fish and omelet comes as default and I selected raw cucumber, boiled okra ( ladyfingers ) and fried egg-plant. I added a fried dried fish.The stall offers six different types of Nam Prik and I only know the name of one. I chose Nam Prik Kapi. It cost me around 65 Baht.

My Caucasian friend Zach ordered the same set meal too. He is being featured in my blog a lot as I am trying my best to convert him into a real Asian foodie. Still got to get him to enjoy eating innards and the big prawn heads. So far I am pretty happy with his progress as he really loves Nam Prik Kapi. His love for Nam Prik is real and sincere as I’ve seen him whacking it few days in a row. I do know some other Caucasian friends who declared their undying love for Asian food but whenever we go to food court, they would still order hamburgers.

I actually wanted to eat with my hand but there’s no sink available in the food court. I voiced my disappointment to Zach and he gave me a look that would be translated as “Ewwww…with your hands!” I then told him that to enjoy Nam Prik Kapi 100%, you need to eat with hands. By using fork and spoon, is just probably 80% satisfaction. The statement made him gave me another look like I am retarded for coming out with that reasoning. At that point my mind was working extra hard to find a perfect example to strengthen my reasoning. I then asked him if he ever eaten steak with plastic fork and knife. I then got a look from him that I was felt very pleased with. Case close and i started to eat my Nam Prik Kapi with a smugly face.


December 16, 2011

La Cerise guest house in Soi Lengke Pattaya

Filed under: Hotel,Thailand,Travel — Alex @ 6:53 pm

I had to come to Pattaya to meet up with my programmer friend to complete my Asian Food Social Network site. He suggested that I stay in a new guest house in Soi Lengke. I am not so picky when it comes to accommodation. As long there’s free Internet access and clean, I am all good.

I thought I would make a review of the guest house that I stayed for more than 2 weeks. The name of the hotel is Le Cerise and the owner is from France. La Cerise is pretty cool in my opinion as it’s a restaurant and a guest house at the same time. Everything is new and I opted for the cheapest room which is at 999 Bath a night. It comes with free breakfast and you can order up to your room at any time of the day.

My room has a tiny balcony that can accommodate 2 person and it is really breezy. I always eat my breakfast at the balcony during my stay there. Another thing that is worth mentioning is that La Cerise has a living room on the second floor. The living room is a common area that can be shared with all the guests. It has satellite TV and DVD player as well. Is cool to entertain your friends here when they come visit you.

I normally do not review hotels or guest houses but I had to with La Cerise because at one time, the manager told me that they also provide transport services with their special made “tuk tuk” around Pattaya City. So this cool service made me want to include this little guest house in one of my post of Spicegasm.A guest enjoying the Free Wifi at the cafe just outside of the guest house premises.

The lobby is also a restaurant where you can have your free breakfast here if you choose not to have it in your room. At the end of the restaurant is a counter where all the friendly La Cerise staffs that will attend to your needs. The restaurant has a big selection of Thai food and also French food. There’s also French pastries for those who has sweet tooth.

This is the living room for the guests and it has satellite TV. The bean bag chair is pretty comfy.

This is where I do my work most of the time. Sometimes I would work at the balcony too.

My bed is clean and comfy. Mattress is good, no complains.

Toilet is clean but I wish the shower would have stronger pressure.

Having my free American breakfast at my tiny balcony. Feeling really happy and contended. It doesn’t take much to make me to feel a million bucks.

Some days I would have the French breakfast instead. Still having it on the balcony though.

The guest house also has many bicycles for rent. I have the feeling the owner of La Cerise is into biking. Tour D’ France!

And finally the picture of the coolest “tuk tuk” in Pattaya City. Bad ass looking motorcycle taxi!



November 7, 2010

Ko-Khun Kunthong, a beef affair

Filed under: Bars & Resto,Food,Thailand,Travel — Alex @ 2:02 pm

This is my last post on my recent trip to Cambodia and Thailand. I am so happy that the day before I go back to Singapore, I managed to eat in this place that is new to me. The name of the restaurant is Ko-Khun. The restaurant is famous for it’s beef dishes. Mainly hot plate beef where you can order different cuts and grill it yourself on the hot plate.

According to a Thai friend of Zach, the beef comes from a certain area in Thailand. Maybe is something like how Kobe, Japan is famous for it’s beef and so is Batangas, Philippines.

I’ve been to Thailand so many times for the past 10 years but there’s always places that are new to me. This is why coming back to Thailand over and over again will not get old. I am so glad that Zach saved this for my grand finale meal. I got so excited upon hearing that Ko-Khun is the type of restaurant where you have to cook your own food. Like hot pot in MK or BBQ Plaza. One thing appeals to me about Ko-Khun is that we dine in open air.

The place is not really foreigner friendly but the menu however has pictures of certain cuts of beef with prices on it. Zach has never been here himself but his Thai friend highly recommended this place to him. We didn’t waste anytime and started point at the food that we wanted and with our halting Thai language, we managed to get our orders across.

After we placed our orders, the staff brought us our serving plates, chopsticks and this basket of vegetables accompanied with 2 bowls of special chili sauce. I immediately took the long beans and dip it into the chili sauce to taste it. The chili dip is really good and my saliva starts to build in my mouth imagining dipping those grilled beef into it. Can’t wait for the feast to begin.

Next to arrived was the grilling plate on burning charcoal together with the raw cut of beef. We put some butter on the grilling plate and start to grill our beef. Since you are the one who cook your own meat, is up to you if you like your beef well done, medium rare, medium or rare.

We also ordered some bacon as we love swine a lot. If only my departure tomorrow wasn’t on an early morning flight, I would have ordered a bottle of wine. That way we can SWINE AND DINE. Lol.

Let the grilling begins

As we were grilling, I noticed our next table, a group of Thai customers has this claypot on their table. We asked the waiter what was that and he told us it was some spicy and sour soup dish. We can put in our beef and vegetables to slow cook it. Egg and some glass noodles will be provided myself. What happened next was we ordered it too. This was my last night in Bangkok, Thailand anyways.

The spicy and sour soup was unbelievable delicious and  appetizing. We put some thin slice of beef, add in cabbage, long beans, Chinese cabbage, some minty leaves and break an egg into the soup. Being an Asian, I had to order a bowl of rice to have the maximum pleasure of savoring this soup. I’m glad that I ordered this soup dish.

Just look at this picture. I bet it just made you swallow your saliva. I can’t tell you how much i enjoyed the experience dining here.

I can’t stop looking around at tables around us. I want to see what the Thai people are ordering and I want to get the same too if the dish appeals to me. I saw a few tables away that some customers were having some fish. We ordered it too and I can tell you it was pure heaven dipping the fish meat into the chili sauce.

Even after ordering so many different cut of Kho-Khun beef, we ordered the most expensive cut of all. I think this is the special marinated sirloin meat that cost around 220 BHT. I think this is the tastiest of all the cuts of beef.

Just another picture to make you hungry

Our well done beef

We were so full after devouring all the food that we ordered that night. Is not the first time that we experienced this over eating situation. Being experts in gluttony, we just sat for a while and ordered for the bill. The bill came to about 920 BHT. The food was amazing and now even the price was unbelievable. I swore if we still have space in our stomach, I would order some food again. I will leave Thailand a happy man but I will definitely be back soon.

For those of you who wants to visit Ko-Khun in the near future, this is their website :-

Ko-Khun Kunthong

November 6, 2010

Khao Tom U-Thong ( I think )

Filed under: Bars & Resto,Food,Thailand,Travel — Alex @ 12:42 pm

Khao Tom U-Thong

I’ve been eating in this food joint for more than 2o times at least. I am not keeping count but it is safe to say that I actually did eat here more than 20 times. The reason I never blog about this popular food joint is because I never know how to spell it. I’ve been asking many Thai people and everybody gives me a different version. I just referred it as the “Goong Place”. As you all know Goong in Thai means shrimp. I call it the Goong Place because Zach and I would always order 3 types of shrimp dish.

This restaurant is located at the main road of Ratchada just at the corner of Soi 10. It opens in the evening around 6pm and close at 4am. This place is always pack with customers. The name of the restaurant is “Khao Tom U-Thong”. I hope I got that right. Khao Tom means congee or porridge and U-Thong is a family name. That’s what I’ve been told at least.

This place does not only sell porridge but it’s just famous for it. Is just like any other Thai restaurant where you can order varieties of dishes, but you eat it with porridge instead of rice. They do however serve rice too.

Based on the menu, the restaurant has at least 100 choices of different kind of dishes. I’ve seen some Thai customers ordering some dishes that is not on the menu. If you decide to visit this restaurant, I suggest you go with a Thai friend in order to get a better dinning experience.

I love seeing those Thai people hanging out in this restaurant and they always bring their own Thai whiskey. I am not sure if the restaurant charge them any cockage fee. Maybe you just have to purchase ice and water from the restaurant. They will order a few dishes and so cool to see them chatting with friends, sipping their whiskey and nibble on the food. You can see fulfillment on their faces.

Look at the crowd at 12 am midnight. You will be surprise to see more customers will come at around 2am. The restaurant just equipped itself with basic furniture and no air conditioner. Just some electric fans to keep us cool. Never be fooled with the outlook of restaurants around Thailand. You might miss a gem for doing that.

The Tom Yum is kept hot with this device. There’s charcoal burning below this funky pot.

You can tell this Tom Yum good by just looking at it. The colors and all sorts of ingredients floating in it.

It took 2 years for my Caucasian friend Zach to actually turned into a fan with Tom Yum Goong. Initially he got confused on how to eat this King Soup of Thailand. He found it hard to tell what is edible and what is not. Especially there are so many spices that is used in this dish. The spices used are actually meant to make the soup tasty but not for consuming purposes. Like the lemon grass and the galangal ( blue ginger ). But is not that hard to know what could be consumed after a while, if you eat it often.

I love Khao Tom U-Thong’s version of TomYum Goong  very much compared to other places in Bangkok. I’m pretty sure there are places that has better TomYum or at least match their version in Bangkok. So far I’ve never got the privileged to taste it yet. I will keep on hunting in the future but for now, Khao Thong U-Thong is my favorite place for Tom Yum Goong.

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